Master of Public Administration

Supervised Field Internship

MPA Internships

The internship is an integral component of the MPA and MPP programs. The key purpose of the internship is to provide students with the opportunity to apply the theory and knowledge learned in the classroom to “real world” work experiences. For those students who do not have substantial work experience, internships provide professional contacts and a chance to build their resumes. It allows students to “try out” occupations they may be interested in pursuing. Internships also sometimes lead to full time employment. Students with substantial work experience may apply for an internship waiver.

There are three ways to fulfill the 6-credit internship requirement for the MPA or MPP programs.  

Option 1:  One way is through the Department's Internship and Professional Practice (IPP) Program.  

Option 2: The second is through a Sponsored Internship (SI).  

Option 3: The third option is for a student to seek out their own internship.  

Students register for 6 internship credits in the spring semester and submit a reflection paper.  An internship evaluation is collected from the Internship Supervisor. 

Option 1 Internship and Professional Practice (IPP) Program

Students in the IPP program intern with an organization for 15 hours per week for an entire academic year (late August through late May). Students gain a meaningful, significant managerial and/or analytic work experience in public or nonprofit agency. In compensation for their work, students receive a tuition scholarship, stipend, and medical benefits.

While there are typically dozens of placements available, the IPP program is competitive. Students apply for IPPs and participate in a selection process that includes submitting a resume, cover letter and participating in an interview with the host organization.  The decision whether to offer an IPP rests with the host IPP organization.

The Department aims to develop as many IPP opportunities as there are students seeking them. Students can also develop their own IPP placement if it meets the internship requirements for the program.

View our complete list of all of the state agencies, town governments and nonprofits that have joined the IPP program to date.

Option 2 Sponsored Internship (SI) Program

Each year the Department offers a limited number of Sponsored Internships with nonprofit or public sector agencies. First year full time MPA and MPP students who have not been awarded a Graduate Assistantship are eligible to apply for an internship through this program. Fast-Track students may also be eligible to apply for a Sponsored Internship.

Students participating in this program receive a stipend and may earn internship credits for their work. Students typically work 10 hours per week from late August to late May.

Positions are usually circulated  in the Spring semester for internships beginning the following August. Students must submit a resume and cover letter to apply for the position, and most organizations will conduct interviews before selecting a student for the position.

Option 3 Finding Your Own Internship

Not all students use the IPP Program to fulfill the internship requirement. Students completing an internship independently must fill out and submit the Internship Placement Record Form prior to beginning the internship. The internship may be completed over the summer or during the semester.


Requesting a Waiver of the Internship

Some student have significant work experience, therefore making them eligible to request a waiver of the Internship credits. Please keep in mind, that some students, even though they may be eligible to waive the requirement, still choose to complete and internship in order to gain further knowledge, networks and experience in a particular area.  Some students may request to waive 3 of the required 6 credits and complete a 3-credit internship.  A waiver request is prepared and submitted.  Once the waiver request is reviewed, the student will be notified in writing (email) of the decision of their request.